I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t, and die to find out there is!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jonah spends three days and nights in the belly of a big fish – Truth or Fiction?

Interpretations of the Book of Jonah

Perhaps the greatest difficulty connected with this book is the matter of determining the method of interpretation. The following are the main theories of interpretation:

* ALLEGORICAL --- "An allegory is a story consisting of a series of incidents which are analogous to a parallel series of happenings that they are intended to illustrate." Thus: Jonah = Israel ....... Jonah's flight = Israel's failure to fulfill its spiritual mission to the nations ....... The "great fish" = Babylon, which swallows up Israel in the captivity ....... Spitting out Jonah = the restoration of Israel to their homeland ....... Etc ....... Etc. (Jeremiah 51:34 speaks of Babylon "swallowing" Israel "like a monster," and it "filled his stomach." Then, in vs. 44, God says He will "bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up.") --- Some regard this as biblical proof of their theory that Jonah is merely an allegory.

* PARABOLIC --- "A parable is a short, pithy story with a didactic aim." The moral of this story --- God's love for the nations. Jonah typifies "the narrow-minded, exclusive Jew with no love for the nations beyond its borders."

* MYTHICAL --- This point of view assumes that the whole story is nothing but a myth or legend which arose around some incident in the history of Israel.

* HISTORICAL --- This view holds that the narrative describes events which actually took place. This is the most likely view. Those who object to this view do so primarily on the basis of the miraculous element in the account (the "great fish" incident, for example). "Jesus placed His sanction on the story as historical fact ..... therefore, the historical interpretation is the only interpretation worthy of acceptance to all who believe that Jesus is the Christ"

The fact that this account should be regarded as historical, however, does not mean there are no parabolic or allegorical or spiritual lessons to be derived from it. However, the only way you can consider it a myth is to be a non-Christian, and ergo, not believe any of the miracles.

An Argument for the Historic Accuracy of the Book of Jonah

The story of Jonah spending three days and three nights in the belly of a big fish
has called forth much disbelief. I am not sure why. This is the story of another miracle and is no greater a miracle than the virgin birth or the resurrection of Jesus. So, I really can’t understand the disbelief.

The question each believer needs to ask him/herself is: Do I believe our God is capable of performing miracles, and am I ready to accept them ALL? If my answer is yes, then why do I have a problem with Jonah? Remember that the Jonah miracle was confirmed and vouched for by Jesus himself in Matthew 12:39-40. He vouches for this historicity and literalness of Jonah by seizing upon it as an example of His own literal Death and Resurrection.

If you have doubts as to the miracle of Jonah in the fish, your issue is not with the historic record of Jonah, but with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Also see Luke 11: 29-30. So… Christ said that the Book of Jonah is true. That settles the matter for all of those who believe in the authority of Christ. If you don’t believe in the authority of Christ, you probably should not even have read this far.

There is some room for speculation, but not on whether or not the story is accurate. We can speculate as to how Jonah survived in the big fish. Perhaps it is a simple as God protected him, just as He protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in The Fiery Furnace. Or could it be that Jonah actually died and was resurrected three days later?

Was the miracle one of keeping him alive, or was the miracle in raising him from the dead? Since The Book of Jonah illustrates the resurrection, I'm of the opinion that God raised him from the dead. But clearly that is my opinion and subject to debate.

In any event the Bible is full of accounts of God doing miracles. The Christian faith rests on the miracle of Christ's resurrection. Jonah and the big fish is simply another miracle.

God said it… I believe it!

Be blessed,




Friday, September 25, 2009

Will Christ followers be judged?


Since the sins of believers were washed away by Christ on the cross, how can believers be judged?

Good Question. Since we are justified by faith and not by works, how can we be judged at all? 2 Corinthians 5:10 is telling us of the importance of living according to what we believe. While salvation is a matter of faith, other eternal rewards depend on our faithfulness. See
1 Cor.3:8 & 3:13-15. We believers are judged righteous in Christ, but will also be rewarded in accordance with the things we do while in the body, whether good or bad. It does matter what we do. God expects our behavior to reflect Him in us. The details of this judgment are not important. What is important is that the Judge is fair and will reward us as we deserve.

Relevant Scripture

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:10

Be blessed,



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Are we saved by grace alone?

Are we saved by grace alone, or do we need to do good works?

Our salvation is a gracious gift of God. God gave us this gift when we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. No one can take this gift from us. It is irrevocable. You cannot earn your way into heaven. Works are not necessary. Having said that, you will notice many Christians who spend a lot of time doing "works." That is normal and natural byproduct of Christianity. The Holy Spirit residing in us moves us to do good works. In fact it is difficult not to do good works, considering God prepared them in advance for us to do. We cannot earn salvation through works. When you really consider it, isn't it a bit silly to think we (us sinners) could do anything for a sinless Holy God that would get Him to change his mind and let us into heaven? After what He did for us! For more on faith and deeds Read James 2:14-24. In reading don't confuse justification with salvation.

Relevant Scripture

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

James 2:14-24
Faith and Deeds
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[a]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Be blessed,

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